In the last post we talked about the types of automobile insurance that drivers are required to carry by the State of South Carolina. Today, we’ll continue our look at automobile insurance with a discussion of what is perhaps the most important of the optional coverages: Underinsured Motorist Insurance, known as “UIM.”
UIM is a type of insurance you buy to protect yourself and your passengers when there isn’t enough liability coverage on the at-fault driver’s policy to fully compensate you for all your injuries after a car accident. After you’ve collected the full policy limits from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, UIM kicks in to cover your excess damages.
Here’s an example of how it works: Bill was t-boned by a driver who ran a red light. After hospitalization, he had over $90,000 in medical bills. The at-fault driver had minimum-limits coverage. Bill would be entitled to collect $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, then, because he has UIM coverage, he could turn to his policy to cover his remaining damages.
Medical bills add up quickly after an accident and can easily exceed the $25,000 / $50,000 minimum-limits coverage carried by many South Carolina drivers.
You can buy UIM coverage up to a value matching that of your liability coverage. In South Carolina, your insurer is required to make a meaningful offer of UIM coverage. If an insurer fails to make a meaningful offer, you can sue to have a court “reform” your insurance policy to include UIM coverage.
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Traffic Collision Fact Book, there is a wreck in our state every 4.7 minutes. Someone is injured every 16.9 minutes. It is therefore important that you consider buying UIM coverage to protect yourself and the passengers in your vehicle.
The experienced attorneys and staff at McWhirter, Bellinger, & Associates can help you navigate the complex world of insurance. If you’ve been in an accident, get us involved so that we can make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. In the next post we’ll wrap up our discussion of the various types of automobile insurance coverages available in South Carolina.